Rene Russo

Rene Russo

Actress, model


An American model-turned-actress, Rene Russo went to prominence with her
career-making-role, as the wise talking detective opposite Mel Gibson in the
Lethal Weapon 3 (1992) and won a Blockbuster Entertainment Award with the same
role in the 1998 sequel Lethal Weapon 4. The former cover girl received positive
reviews for her portrayals in Barry Sonnenfeld’s Get Shorty (1995, with John
Travolta) and The Thomas Crown Affair (1999, opposite Pierce Brosnan), as well
as is known for playing roles in In the Line of Fire (1993), Outbreak (1995),
Tin Cup (1996), Two for the Money (2005) and Yours, Mine and Ours (2005).
“That’s a really good question - what is it like living with a writer? I guess
it depends on the writer. You know what? They live in a fantasy world a lot of
the time. My husband lives in a fantasy world. It’s really hard for him to be in
the world, because if his head isn’t in a script, I guess to write what he does,
he has to sort of twist the world a little bit and live in a fantasy. And I
think he doesn’t live in reality - in my reality, let’s put it that way. He’s
much more “Everything’s fine fine fine and everything’s good good good,” and I’m
like, “What, are you nuts? Everything’s rotten and sucks.” Rene Russo

As for her marriage life, Russo, who earned $5,000,000 for The Thomas Crown
Affair (1999) and $3,000,000 for Lethal Weapon 4 (1998), has been married twice.
She is now the wife of screenwriter-actor Dan Gilroy, whom she wed in 1992. The
devoutly Christian actress lives in Brentwood, California, with her husband and
their only daughter, Rose.

Jolly Green Giant

Childhood and Family:

In a low-income neighborhood in Burbank, California, Rene Marie Russo was born
on February 17, 1954, to Italian American parents Nino (died at age 74 of
congestive heart failure) and Shirley Russo. When she was 2, her
sculptor/mechanic father abandoned the family. As a result, Rene and her younger
sister, Tony, were raised by her mom who took double job as a factory worker and
bartender to support their life. Rene was diagnosed with scoliosis at age 10
that forced her to use a full-body cast during her growing years for her spinal
condition. This situation, coupled with unconfident feeling about her awkward
height made young Rene an outsider throughout her school years. At the 10th
grade, “the Jolly Green Giant,” a nickname given to Rene, opted to drop out of
Burroughs High School. Instead, she began taking various part-time jobs in order
to help her family.

Rene was married to her second husband, actor-screenwriter Dan Gilroy, on March
14, 1992. The couple welcomed their only child, a daughter named Rose Gilroy, on
August 23, the next year.

The Thomas Crown Affair


Hailed from a poor environs in Burbank, California, Rene Russo, who at one-time
worked as a Disneyland teller, a restaurant hostess, a movie theatre concession
stand employee as well as a contact lens inspector at an eyeglass factory to
support her family, was discovered at a Rolling Stones concert by John Crosby, a
talent agent who set a contract with modeling diva Nina Blanchard. Soon after
the encounter, the 18-year-old girl launched her modeling career in New York and
signed with the Ford Modeling Agency. She made cover shoots for such top fashion
magazines as Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue that made Russo an instant success. Now
was the Eileen Ford model, Russo’s mounting career was confirmed when she worked
with numerous major photographers, including Francesco Scavullo and Richard
Avedon, and modeled for a series of print ads and commercials for Revlon
cosmetics. With her notable efforts, Russo became one of the top models of the
1970s and early 80s.

Already a popular model, Russo tried her hand in acting. Salvaging contract with
her former manager, John Crosby, she landed her first job in the short-lived ABC
series “Sable” in 1987, portraying a literary agent and lover of the title
character, and made a leap to the wide screen two years later with a small role
as the librarian wife of Tom Berenger in David S Ward’s baseball comedy Major
League. She followed with similar roles in films like Mr. Destiny (1990) as
James Belushi’s spouse Cindy Jo Bumpers, and One Good Cop (1991), in which
Michael Keaton portrayed her husband. In action film Freejack (1992), she found
herself acting with Emilio Estevez, Anthony Hopkins and former lover Mick Jagger.

Russo’s breakthrough film role arrived when she joined the cast of director
Richard Donner’s Lethal Weapon 3 (1992). As Lorna Cole, the plain-speaking
Internal Affairs detective who flourishes when she cooperates with Riggs (Mel
Gibson) and Murtaugh Danny Glover, the actress demonstrated both her acting
capacity and her talent as an action heroine. With the role, Russo’s film career
was set on the rise.

Assignments on the large-budget movies and with big time actors followed,
including as Clint Eastwood’s romantic interest in Wolfgang Petersen’s In the
Line of Fire (1993), former wife and fellow scientist to Dustin Hoffman in
Outbreak (1995). Also in 1995, Russo was praised for her change-of-pace turn as
B-movie actress Karen Flores in the John Travolta and Gene Hackman comedy
vehicle Get Shorty (1995) for director Barry Sonnenfeld. The Ron Shelton-helmed
comedy Tin Cup (1996) cast her as a sexy small-town woman who torn between Don
Johnson and Kevin Costner.

After reuniting with Gibson in Ron Howard’s Ransom (1996), Russo headlined her
first vehicle by essaying the true-life eccentric millionaire Gertrude Lintz in
the biopic Buddy (1997). Despite offering an excellent performance, she had to
deal with disappointment as the film was slammed by many critics and failed to
find an audience. Russo stepped back to mainstream film after reprising her
detective role opposite Mel Gibson in the sequel Lethal Weapon 4 (1998), where
she nabbed a Blockbuster Entertainment for Favorite Supporting Actress. The
beautiful actress gave one of her best performances the following year when she
played an assurance investigator romancing Pierce Brosnan, who becomes the prime
suspect in an art theft, in the remake of The Thomas Crown Affair (1999). Her
fine efforts won Russo critical raves and new fans as well.

Next up for Russo, she made wrong choices by having roles in the mixed live
action-animated The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (2000, opposite Robert De
Niro) and the limp action comedy Showtime (2002, with Eddie Murphy and again
with De Niro). It was followed with a role as a sad housewife and mother to the
unhappy daughter (Zooey Deschanel) in the little seen ensemble comedy Big
Trouble (2002). Russo then took a few years away from filmmaking and didn’t
appear until in 2005 when she teamed up with Al Pacino and Matthew McConaughey
in D.J Caruso’s gambling drama Two for the Money, and costarred opposite Dennis
Quaid in the remake of Yours, Mine and Ours, a comedy about a blended family.


Blockbuster Entertainment: Favorite Supporting Actress -
Action/Adventure, Lethal Weapon 4, 1999
“I wanted Raging Bull. I wanted Casino. I got Rocky and Bullwinkle. But that's OK, because I still get to tell people I've worked with Robert DeNiro.”More Rene Russo quotes [09/16/2006 12:09:00]
I think all writers are different. I've been with a few writers; they're all different.More Rene Russo quotes [03/29/2018 05:03:36]
Do I get up some days and feel competitive? Sure. Do I get up some days and feel afraid? Of course. But...I have real moments of joy now, and I know it will continue.More Rene Russo quotes [03/29/2018 05:03:36]
Every day, every birthday candle I blow out, every penny I throw over my shoulder in a wishing well, every time my daughter says, 'Let's make a wish on a star,' there's one thing I wish for: wisdom.More Rene Russo quotes [03/29/2018 05:03:36]
“Oh, it's real. They're so blessed. I wish them all the love in the world.”More Rene Russo quotes [09/16/2006 12:09:00]

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